what's happening in nara in march

“unless お水取り o-mizutori is finished, we won’t have mild weather yet” -- my mother always tells me so, just like other people in 関西 kansai (the southern-central region). 修二会 shunie, known as お水取り, is the 2 week-long ceremony of fire and water that has been practiced by buddhist monks in 二月堂 nigatsu-do (hall) of 東大寺 todai-ji (temple) in 奈良 nara prefecture for more than 1200 years. it is said that spring comes to the region as the service is completed. お水取り, drawing sacred water, the climax of 修二会, takes place on march 12th every year.

a year ago yesterday, when my daughter stayed with me, she and I visited 奈良. 奈良 was the capital of japan in the 8th century before 京都 kyoto. 大仏 daibutsu, the great buddha, is housed in 金堂 kon-do (hall) that lies the huge compound of 東大寺, which is now 奈良公園 (park). the park is also popular for deer roaming around and following tourists for 鹿せんべいshika senbei (deer biscuits). the temples in 奈良 feel quite ancient. they are indeed old. i liked it there because its atmosphere is less formal than 京都 – it’s quieter, more rural and relaxing, while its scale is grander.

once you enter 金堂, 大仏 will take you aback. it’s magnificent. the architecture of the wooden hall also will take you breath away if you are from countries where buildings are made of bricks or stone. it was her first time for shion, my daughter, to visit 奈良. i’d been there a few times before, but every time i look up at the giant buddha statue, the vast scale and the sense of eternity amaze me. our next destination after 大仏 was 二月堂. walking up and down the hills in the park covered with moss to 二月堂 was worth sweating. when reached the hilltop, we had a panorama of the peaceful city from 二月堂.

yesterday, i went to my mother’s home and spent the whole afternoon cleaning. i couldn’t ignore the clutter in her bedroom. she just can’t damp things like empty cardboard boxes and carrier bags. so there were tons everywhere in her flat being waiting to tidy up. my mother is hopeless believer in a “this one can be useful one day” -sort of thing. she didn’t allow me to even hoover her living room. i did throughout. because, she is most likely to get back home from her hospital some time this week, if her blood test turns out as best as it shows in the last few weeks.

after all, the cause of her disease was unfound. it was not caused by any virus, which is certain. we are relieved to hear that she is now out of danger, even though there is no further medication or treatment for her other than being in bed. when she is home, she is still a hepatitis patient, i will have to take care of her. i fact, i have an appointment with a hospital dietician this afternoon. obviously, she will be staying in bed at home longer than before. this must’ve been a good timing to dust her bedroom corners, it seems. i hope my mother will not mind me having done that.

this year’s お水取り of 東大寺 is taking place in 二月堂 on 12th as usual. by midnight there will be tens of thousands of prayers to gather, or tourists just to say goodbye to the winter blues.
thank you so much for your warm words and get-well-soon wishes for my mother!!

No comments: